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With Conor McGregor seemingly at odds with the UFC and with Floyd Mayweather hinting about ending his retirement, a report that emerged from The Sun, a U.K. tabloid, that Mayweather and McGregor were on the verge of a deal for a fight, was given an ever so slight bit of credibility.
The Sun reported Mayweather would make $144 million while McGregor would get $10.1 million in U.S. dollars.
But UFC president Dana White laughed when asked if the report was true. He said it is completely false.
"It's not true; it's just a tabloid story," White said. "And as far as I knew, Floyd is retired and he's been on a world-wide vacation and hasn't even been thinking of fighting."
Mayweather retired in September as the welterweight champion, at a weight limit of 147 pounds. McGregor holds the featherweight, or 145-pound, title in the UFC.
Even without White's denial, the report made zero sense. Boxing and mixed martial arts are similar, but ultimately different sports. It’s like comparing baseball and softball, and suggesting that an MMA fighter could defeat a boxer in a boxing match would be like suggesting a slugger in softball could win a major league home run title. Or vice versa.
The bottom line is that the story isn’t true, no matter how much people would love for it to be. There are no better trash talkers in sports than Mayweather and McGregor, and a promotion featuring them would be epic.
The story said the fight would be in Las Vegas in the summer. But UFC 200 will be July 9 at the T-Mobile Arena, and the Olympics will take up most of August.
The Mexican Independece Day weekend in September is always a popular weekend for a boxing pay-per-view, but Canelo Alvarez could take that slot if he defeats Amir Khan on Saturday.
McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, fueled the breathless speculation with a clever tweet that included an intentional typo.
Yahoo Sports reached out Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe for comment, but he hasn't responded.
When Yahoo Sports spoke to White late Thursday, before the Sun story broke, and discussed McGregor. At that time, White said, “We have no problems with Conor. We’re totally cool.”
White had yanked McGregor from a planned fight at UFC 200 on July 9 because McGregor didn’t want to fly to Las Vegas to participate in media and promotional activities.
Mayweather left the door open for a return from his retirement during an interview on Showtime last week.
But don’t start making plans to fly to Las Vegas to see this one, because, as White confirmed and anyone thinking rationally should have known, it isn’t going to happen.